Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

Hundreds of dolphins disoriented in shallow Philippine waters

February 11, 2009

There’s a great deal of empathy that was elicited by the sight of hundreds of dolphins stranded in shallow waters of Orion and Pilar, Bataan, somewhere close to Manila Bay in the Philippines. For reasons that aren’t clear, the docile and friendly sea mammals were stranded on Tuesday, February 10, 2008, unable to swim back to deeper waters.

Fishermen and town folks from neighboring villages came in droves to help drive the melon-head dolphins, numbering about 200 to 300, back to sea. Admirably, the villagers followed the appeal of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to help and not harm the marooned animals.

“The unusual occurrence may have been triggered by a sea quake that could have damaged the dolphins’ eardrums and disoriented them, or the pod could have been following a sick or injured leader, Malcolm Sarmiento, director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, said in a telephone interview.”—-AOL News/ AP (02/10/09, Marquez, B; Cerojano, C)

Though the group of agile air-breathing animals eventually made it to the open sea, there were three dolphins found dead. One was pregnant and one was a young baby. According to the animal doctor who examined the remains, two adult dolphins revealed fractured eardrums. (Photo Credit: Malaya) =0=


Imminent eruption of Alaska’s Mount Redoubt reminds us of Mayon and Pinatubo

January 30, 2009

The snow-capped Mt. Redoubt in Anchorage, Alaska is showing signs of restiveness that makes eruption probable. Residents living close to the 10,200 foot volcano are on alert as they set aside gears and provisions for the imminent volcanic eruption. Having seen showers of ash and pyroclastic debris in the past, the people there prepare masks and goggles, the first line of defense to protect their eyesight and breathing.

This isn’t unfamiliar to our kababayans in Bicol where Mt. Mayon displays periodic volcanic activity which forces the evacuation of villagers from its slope and gulleys. The PhilVolcs and government officials coordinate with the community to avoid loss of life and property during such emergency.

Farther north in Luzon Island of the Philippines is Mt. Pinatubo also blows its top with tons of lava and subterranean debris shooting up in the air. Ash deposits and later lahar destroy towns along its path.

In June 1991, the Mount Pinatubo brought hardship and misery in the neighboring provinces of Zambales, Tarlac and Pampanga. The eruption forced indigenous tribesmen, the Aetas, to scamper from their mountain dwellings as volcanic debris rolled and covered lowland settlements, reaching as far as the environs of Manila. Pinatubo’s gigantic eruption destroyed crops and agriculture land, countless homes and villages making it one of the biggest eruptions in memory. (Photo Credits: Blastard; DiffusedPixel; US Geological Survey PD) =0=

Mount Mayon and Mount Pinatubo


RP’s awesome underground river and Bicol’s pollution

January 28, 2009

The search for “the new seven wonders of the world” is on and the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is attracting more attention. The underground waterway in Palawan is among the leading nominees in the category of forest, national parks, and nature reserves. In fact, it has taken the top lead ahead of the great Amazon Rainforest of South America and the astounding Subdarbans Delta in Bangladesh and India.

The unique Philippine underground river grabbed the top spot after a successful campaign to gain points on the first round of voting. The contest which drew 261 nominees in 7 categories had been the brainchild of the New 7 Wonders Foundation, a group established by the Swiss-Canadian aviator Bernard Weber. From January 1 to July 7, 2009, the contest’s second voting will select 77 nominees and 21 finalists They will be announced on July 21, 2007 by a panel of jurors to be led by Federico Mayor, a former UNESCO director-general.—- Inquirer (01/27/09, Anda, R)

Obviously, the stunning below-the-ground river system located southwest of the archipelago is a cause of happiness for Filipinos who take pride in their homeland’s beauty—-a cluster of 7,100 emerald isles in Asia. The popularity of the tropical underground attraction highlights the need for kababayans to be part of the conservation campaign in order to protect the country’s natural treasures.

Nature preservation is most timely for the Filipino people. In Bicol, because of improper waste disposal, the effects of pollution have reached the coastal towns of Masbate. Shown in Bicol Mail (01/22/09,) are graphic photos of filthy garbage washed to shore. The damage on the towns makes a good argument in favor of environmental protection. Discarded plastics, papers, and human wastes floating at sea have certainly fouled the environment. Garbage poses a huge health hazard to humans and all living things which thrive in the area. =0=


"Best Job in the World” website crashes in a deluge of interested applicants

January 14, 2009

Several hours after the Australian Tourism Department of Queensland announced that a unique job in a Whitsunday Island is seeking a caretaker-promoter to be paid a juicy salary of $100,000, a deluge of applicants and prospective candidates rushed to Part of its campaign to boost tourism, the website needs a reliable person to live a leisurely life in the enchanting reef-island of Hamilton—a low-stress and “carefree” nature experience in an Aussie seaside paradise that will be shared with a weekly blog, video or a press release.

The position caught the attention of thousands. The sought-after website crashed due to heavy stream of interested individuals worldwide wanting to know about the position whose relaxing duties include fish feeding, cleaning a pool and accepting mail deliveries.

It doesn’t require prior experience and commences on July 1, 2009. One can just imagine the work people prefer.—Yahoo.News/ Reuters (01/14/09, Fahmy, M; Yates, D)(Photo Credit: Miriam36) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Best job in some enchanted island: Is it for you?” Posted by mesiamd at 1/13/2009


Best job in some enchanted island: Is it for you?

January 13, 2009

Australia is offering a unique six-months job for a caretaker-promoter of a pristine island. Dubbed as the “best job in the world,” it is offered by the Australian Tourism Department to boost its travel industry in Hamilton Island, part of an eastern continental group of islands called Whitsunday Islands in the coast of Queensland.

The job which pays $100,000 salary ($150, 000 Aus dollars) demands for a nature- loving outdoor person who enjoys taking leisurely walks on white beaches, swim and snorkel on the reefs. He must be able to blog and make videos of his experience on a weekly basis made available to promote the place for tourism. The low-stress work package includes a free living quarters in an oceanfront villa and air fare that brings the worker in and from the island.—AP (01/13/09)

Applicants can be anyone from any country. Eleven (11) will be selected and brought to Hamilton Island as finalists from a search which commences on February 11, 2009. The winner will be chosen before July 1 when the work begins. There will surely be interested applicants for such enchanted tour of duty. Is it for you? =0=

Gifts, santan blooms & rainbows

January 11, 2009

“Each person has a poem to write, a book to share, a revelation to bring out in the open. Each of us has a winsome idea to think about and a compelling story to tell. Ibalonian Ona Vigil has beautiful musings which spring forth like sparkling dewdrops in the recesses of her mind. Like the rounded pregnant bead of water ready to drop from a flower, her fluid reflections bring something persuasively personal and dear.” —AFM

Gifts….with feeling

by Ona Vigil

They grew up not giving me gifts, I mean material gifts. A kiss, a hug, a greeting, a personally made holiday card—they understood these were enough to make me happy. The thoughtfulness meant more than anything for their Mom— they knew.

Last Christmas, I received something special: a framed photo of my three children. Innocent smiles, beautiful faces, a picture almost two decades old, a survivor of harsh days, flash floods and thunderbolts, blown-up to fit a 10 x 12 inch frame. It had been by my favorite picture. Once again, I received a gift…with feeling.

The Rainbow

Just as usual, I woke up early the day after Christmas (comes with ageing, teases a friend). I felt like everyone else—-my children and the neighbors were still asleep as soft rain languidly fell from the overcast sky. The day was gloomy. The sun wouldn’t come out. I wish I could see a rainbow!

I sat on my favorite nook outside thinking what the morning would bring. And voila! There I saw the dazzling prism of colors arching against the clouds racing about the tall trees. Was it a rainbow?

ROY G BIV. Is it a queer-sounding name? No. That’s how I learned to memorize the various colors when I was in grade school. I recalled my neighbor’s fiery poinsettia and the rows of santan flowers, all brimming RED. My potted bougainvilleas were lovely in full-bloom. Their sharp flowers dotted the wide garden, just like the prolific YELLOW bells which blended with the sprouts of sedges under the bush. The hurried flowers drew the busy butterflies in frenzied flight with the wind while the bee buzzed along.

Against the BLUE roof of a house nearby. I watched the tiny luxuriant VIOLET blooms whose sweet scent filled the air. Though the GREEN leaves were a-plenty and the trees were noisy with the breeze, I wondered where the color of INDIGO I could find. From the depths of my senses, a voice whispered a line from a poem: “Close your eyes to see it!” I did. ROY G. BIV. Suddenly there, I saw my rainbow. (Photo Credit: Annalee&BS)=0=


Some of earth’s amazing wonders

December 31, 2008

There are beautiful things in the world that we’ll never see even if we exhaust seeking them in our lifetime. Many of the planet’s tantalizing scenes are remote for ordinary people to reach; others are quite rare for a chance encounter. Some are small and their details need microscopes to see— others too big beyond the discernment of the human senses.

To me , the photo of Sylvie Vincedet of Montepellier, France of the Antelope Canyon on the Navajo Reservation in Page, Arizona qualifies as among the most outstanding sights that I have seen so far. I have a reason to pause and look.

The secluded passageway is revered by those who have seen it. With some light peering from the sky, the rocky place lures. Its enigmatic sandy red-brown ridges carved by time are simply awesome. I behold nature for its plain and unending surprises. (Photo Credit: AP/ Matt York)


By a clumsy hand, a color rendition of a season passing

November 25, 2008

November 24, 2008
New York City

It’s too late to have the green, yellow, orange, red, purple, and the brown of the fall season. The last mottled leaf has been shed by the trees as autumn fades to give way to the coming winter. The cold is now a notch lower than last week’s temperature dip. Only some fallen leaves roll down the sidewalk; a few decay with the debris on the ground’s icy permafrost close to the street curve.

I feel I didn’t have enough of the dazzling color changes of fall this year. The trees are suddenly bare in hibernation, concluding the foliage’s annual shedding. I don’t hear the whisper of the summer leaves anymore— only the twigs and branches of maple trees shudder with the breeze.

Warding off the bite of the chilly air, the little chestnut sparrows may silently huddle under the bush somewhere. Trees stand still like the rigid black fence of a leaf-laden path in Central Park. There is the scent of moist earth after a light drizzle. Soft sunshine peers through the woods and touch the sere leaves on the pavement. The morning dove which wakes me up at dawn is gone.

Have you tried painting a picture of the awesome fall season the way you see it etched in your mind? Even if I don’t know how, let me show you the colors. Look at the loud amorphous picture I have below. It shows that gifted artists, unlike me, can paint autumn much better. And nature, if left alone, makes the season infinitely grand, and pleasing to remember.(Photo Credits: FernandoSanchez(OnandOf); Lawatha) =0=


My caged munias & the birds in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s mind

November 20, 2008

The captive munias (rignos, mayas; chestnut mannikins,) didn’t escape my mind when I read the old elegant lines from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s paean for the birds, part of what he wrote in May-Day and Other Pieces. The 19th century American essayist-poet’s beautifully crafted words made my heart thumping as thoughts of childhood crossed my mind. All the birds which I wanted as pets died. I was regretful. From the ugly experience, I wondered if I truly learned wholesome values mentioned by the great inspiring American writer-philosopher in the following lines:

O birds, your perfect virtues bring,
Your song, your forms, your rhythmic flight,
Your manners for your heart’s delight,
Nestle in hedge, or barn, or roof,
Here weave your chamber weather-proof,
Forgive our harms, and condescend
To man, as to a lubber friend,
And, generous, teach his awkward race
Courage, and probity, and grace!”

—from May Day and Other Pieces by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

I felt remorse over keeping those mayas in a small bamboo cage. For measly 5 centavos each, I bought the tiny birds at the gate of the grade school where I studied. At home, I was excited to play with the popular avian species which frequent the grasses and rice paddies of Bicol. With fast wings ready to fly, their feet were restrained by strings tied on my hand.

The mayas were good to see inside the bamboo cage on the window sill. Each time I went near, feathers hummed like the sound of an electric razor. Brighter and more vibrant than Joseph’s dream coat, their fluffy feathers and tiny feet were wonderful.

I sensed their fear and boredom even if I fed them with rice grains from the fields. It was stupid of me to egg them to bathe in a water basin the way ducks do in the marsh. Recalling how they groomed when rain left pools of water on the pavement outside, I watched them flap their fiery brown wings. I craved that they lay eggs in a nest I made from dried zakate leaves.

Their silvery beaks were no match to the rigid bamboo enclosure which they tried to break. Their brown puzzling eyes sought every little chance to escape and be free.

If they could speak, they might have insisted flying up the lemon tree or have them build nests in a bush as thorny as the bougainvilleas. I heard them burst in a beautiful song with the soul of a passing breeze. In spite of my watch, all of them didn’t last. One after another, they died.

Although I was pure and diligent in my care for the munias, I knew they succumbed to stress. The alert birds badly needed liberty and they might have been distressed like the idle prisoners in jail. So self-absorbed of having them, I couldn’t resist keeping them in the cage. At that age, I had little idea what cruelty meant.

Nobody convinced me that my effort to make the birds happy made them even more sad. Had I known, I would have treated them humanely by just setting them free. As Ralph Waldo Emerson whose respect for nature and God were strong when he wrote years ago, I couldn’t resist saying, “forgive our harms, and condescend.” (Photo Credits: Edmondcv210;____; neon2rosell; CharlesLam; floridapfd; GurpalKaher; Nils) =0

Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

October 14, 2008

An hour and a half by car from the center of Calgary, Alberta is Banff, the national park which showcases the beauty of the Canadian rockies. At this time of the year, the fall season seems close to winter. The fresh frigid breeze blows from Mount Rundle, Banff’s tallest summit. The waterfowls are seen in the prairies and nearby rivers just like in other Canadian mountain ecosystems like Jasper, Yoho, and Kootenay National Parks.

Except for the evergreens, the upright trees have lost their leaves and the sun has turned pale, its rays slanted as the day wears on. With an imposing natural landscape which is better seen than described, Banff is truly a special place to remember.

Founded in 1887, Banff National Park is the first of several World Heritage sites in Canada designated by the United Nations. It is part of the immense rockies that trace the continental divide at the border of Alberta and British Columbia. Displaying one of the earth’s most tantalizing mountain views, rock formations, and picturesque valleys, Banff is home to pristine lakes, meandering streams, pine-covered plains, snow-draped mountains and a protected wildlife reserve.

At certain times of the day, Banff is misty, hugged by stunning clouds which descend on narrow gulleys and rugged cliffs. The frosted powdery mountain caps reflect the sheen of the sun which enthralls the eyes and makes one feel closer to God’s glorious creation. (Photo Credits: Jill Bermillo-Ocampo)=0=


Jill Bermillo and hubby Ferdie Ocampo from Naga City & Balatan, Camarines Sur and residents of Shawnessy, Calgary, Canada played host on October 10 to 14, 2008. May I express our sincere gratitude for their hospitality.—AFM =0=